By Victoria Cavaliere
SEATTLE (Reuters) – A new band of Pacific storms was headed toward the U.S. West Coast on Saturday, bringing more rain to drought-stricken California, while a different storm system threatened the Northeast with more snow and cold, forecasters said.
The West Coast storm system, known as the “Pineapple Express” because it develops in moist air moving across the Pacific Ocean, has dropped up to 12 inches (30 cm) of rain across Northern California, Oregon and Washington state since Thursday, forecasters said.
“The storm is coming in several waves, and one of the largest was yesterday,” said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The so-called “atmospheric river of rain” had tapered off on Saturday, with another well-defined wave of precipitation and strong winds beginning on Sunday, Burke said.
The rainfall was a boon to California, suffering its worst drought on record, but would not increase snow pack in the mountains, Burke said.
Honeydew, a town on California’s northern coast, has already received 11.4 (29 cm) inches of rain, while Hoodsport, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula, has seen 8.06 inches (20 cm), the National Weather Service said.
Thousands of people temporarily lost power on Friday and nearly 200 flights were canceled out of the San Francisco area, local officials said.
Along the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, several homes were evacuated when the Duckabush River flooded in Jefferson County, the sheriff’s office said.
Across the country, the third winter storm in two weeks was heading toward the Northeast, promising light snow in New Jersey and New York City on Sunday into Monday and nearly a foot (30 cm) in parts of New England, including snow-socked Boston, Burke said.
Philadelphia, on the southernmost edge of the storm, will likely see rain, forecasts show.
To the north, parts of New York state, including Albany, Connecticut and Massachusetts will get 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) of new snow, Burke said.
The snowfall in Boston will come on top of 48 inches (122 cm) that has fallen since Jan. 23, according to forecasts.
Later in the week, much of the East Coast, from Virginia to Maine, will see the most frigid conditions yet this season, with temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit in many areas, Burke said.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Frank McGurty and Dan Grebler)